How to appear personable in a few seconds

How to appear personable in a few seconds

© Simone Massoni

Small talk – those who master this communicative art can open doors. Pure superficiality? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that. It is the first step towards later, possibly really exciting contacts, maybe even deep friendship. You don’t approach strangers and immediately start a conversation about love, life and our innermost feelings.

In order to appear sympathetic to your counterpart in a few moments, whether in the elevator, at a party, a company party – or currently in the zoom meeting, you have to start small. With small talk. Whoever hits the right note appears charming and charismatic. And you can practice that. These are the seven basic rules of small, quick conversation. (also read: 10 things that make you more interesting as a man)


The mantra of all charisma coaches: It is not about me finding myself good. It’s about others feeling good when they’re around me. Here you can definitely learn something from the Americans. It is part of everyday life in the United States to be unabashed and compliment yourself unexpectedly. Yes, you can approach another man and say: “I like your tie” if a reason is provided in the same breath, for example: “Narrow ties always look dynamic. Where did you buy them? ”Nobody is too cool to be sincerely complimented. It takes courage and openness, but is the best way to start a conversation. Then you officially introduce yourself.


The legendary British politician Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) put it this way: “Talk to someone about yourself and they will listen to you for hours.” Indeed, studies show that most people feel that one to have had a really good conversation when they used up the most of their speaking time. So ask. Listen to. And you will be remembered forever. Prepare a road map with which you can engage the other person in a friendly conversation. There is no banality in small talk. Just a start. You can still become profound. Tip: Questions that can be answered with yes or no do not work. “Did you have a good weekend?” – “Yes.” – “Have you already planned your vacation?” “No.” One-syllable conversation partners have to be lured out of the reserve. Better orient yourself to questions like the following. The concept for good entertainment is: S.T.I.L.! That’s how it works:

© Simone Massoni

S – situation

How do you like the evening so far? How do you know the host?

T – talent

What do you do for a living? How did you get involved?

I – interests

What do you like to do in your free time? Which restaurant could you recommend to me?

L – life

Where do you originally come from? Why did you move away from there?


It will always happen to you that a conversation partner begins to talk about the weather out of clumsiness. Probably the most banal topic at all. But an interesting conversation can also arise from this in seconds. In his bestseller “Manners”, management consultant Asfa-Wossen Asserate describes how this works: “Based on the statement that today is a cloudy day, one could go on to say that one saw a cloud that looked like the Pope was riding up a camel, or it is strange, as beautiful as the clouds are, you hate paintings of clouds. ”

A bit off the beaten track, a bit quirky, but very funny. And that is exactly why the other will react. It also works a bit more conventionally. “Summer is pretty rainy again this year.” Her answer: “That’s right. I’m still waiting for a nice weekend to go hiking. Do you also like to go hiking? ”That would be a good example of the art of not letting go. If your counterpart answers with “No”, say: “Oh, you are not hiking? Well then – tell me your hobby? I am currently looking for a new one and need inspiration. ”You are already in the middle of a sociable chat. (Also interesting: It’s the best way to compliment a woman)


Minimum confirmations like “Aha”, “Yes” or “Interesting” are something like the gasoline for the conversation engine. So let a few of them flow in again and again to warm up. But that can only be the beginning. The basic conversation rule is to treat everyone as if they were an old friend. Good hosts know that. Of course, this does not mean that you should greet strangers or the CEO with a jovial pat on the shoulder.

But if you make someone feel that they have seen you before, they immediately feel more comfortable: touch the person you are talking to or your date on the arm or shoulder. That brings in charm points. And: keep eye contact. Not just talking to two. Even if you are in a group, you should look each other in a friendly smile. That builds strong sympathy.


The talent for conversation is particularly important in the job – or actually the other way around: the lack of this talent is particularly bad. Whether alone with the boss in the elevator or in a group of colleagues in front of the conference room: You should be able to make a short positive impression at all times. If the boss asks “How are you?” You should be able to say something interesting. An answer like “Good, and you?” Limps rhetorically like the hunched bell ringer from Notre-Dame. Note: A short reason also fits into the sentence. For example: “Well, we completed project XY yesterday, and I’m totally thrilled with the result.” By the way, the following also applies when talking to the manager: Let him talk about you.

This way you get to know your boss better. In the elevator, for example, three floors are enough for a small interlude: “I’m looking for a new book. Maybe you have a tip? What was the last thing that excited you? “But, be careful, small talk trap: You should always expect the boss to counter the counter-question:” What was the last thing you read? “And then something other than Donald Ducks must come” Funny paperback ”. However: Maybe you have an original reason why everyone should read this particular comic. Then that’s completely okay. The main thing is that the boss laughs with you, not at you.


Small talk, chit-chat, la petite conversation de la table – the terms in different languages ​​already signal what this is about: relaxation. In German-speaking countries, however, many think that they should contribute intellectual contributions in the quality of a keynote speech. The opposite is true: if you want to appear likeable, you score with charm instead of sly eggs. The French writer François de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) wrote: “Gallantry is to say empty things in a pleasant way.” Take action! Example: Whiskey. A popular gentleman theme. But if you don’t really know your way around, you will skid if you want to pronounce names like “Bruichladdich” or “Auchentoshan”.

It is much more charming to take the British view of small talk to heart: to throw into the room theses that are not necessarily absolutely correct and like to provoke. After all, the word “stimulate” is in “chatting excitedly”. A conversation becomes much more entertaining if you come up with steep theses instead of useless knowledge (just the correct pronunciation of expensive single malts): “Rum is the new whiskey.” Or you can ignite a rhetorical atom bomb: “I like to drink my whiskey to the brim with ice cubes. ”Maybe there will be tumultuous scenes. Perhaps you also impress with your self-confident attitude. In any case, it will be entertaining.


The same rules apply to small talk as to Navy SEALs: in and out. Just as it is best to rush to a group of strangers and throw yourself into a conversation, you should also end a conversation politely if you realize that you can not chat well with your counterpart. For this purpose, wait for a short break in the conversation (in hardship cases, a breathing space is enough) and politely point out that you would like to greet other guests. But: do not give any reason. It acts like a confession of guilt. Better to add a sentence like: “I was happy, we will see each other very often today.” Smile, turn away and go.


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